When adventuring in Salem, MA

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Last year we started traveling around in an RV, well a Travel Trailer towed by our truck. One of the first places I planned for us to go besides visiting various family and friends was Salem, MA. I have been obsessed with the Witch Trials since I was like 9 and it has been a long time dream of mine to go there. So we did!

First if you are traveling in an RV of any type, travel trailer, class C, class A, fifth wheel, van, whatever make sure you get a membership to some RV parks like Good Sam or Thousand Trails. It will save you money. We stayed at a little place along the coast on Winter Island just outside of or still inside of Salem, I’m not sure but we could have walked into Salem…well I mean it would have been a good walk but bike would have been great. We didn’t have bikes…so we drove.

There is NO sewer there but they give you some type of dumping certificate to use for free dumping at a nearby location. We now have what they call a “honey wagon” but at the time did not…we spent just 4 days there and were gone most of the day. It was neat though and there is Fort Pickering there as well. Now about Salem…

Check out some pics from our adventure!

If you don’t plan ahead you might feel overwhelmed with how much there is to do but don’t panic. A quick visit to the visitor center can straighten you out easy enough. We went to the memorial of course which was very well done. It was just outside the cemetery and each person who died during those tragic events had a stone with their name and date of death and method of death carved into it. People leave flowers and trinkets on the stones and visitors were all quiet and respectful.

Assuming you know about the Salem Witch Trials, and like me this is why you are there, then this is a great place to check out. If you know nothing about them then you might first want to check out one of several places around town that can help fill you in on the history behind it. The Salem Witch Museum is a good place to start. It uses life size scenes to show and tell the story of the Salem Witch Trials. It is fine for kids if they can handle the subject matter and my kids enjoyed it and were paying attention the whole time which was amazing cause they never pay attention for long.

It is set up to light up one scene at a time while a narrator that tells the story of what happened and those involved. After this part you get to walk through a sort of witches in history museum exhibit that tells about witches past and even present day witches and wicca. I was more interested in the past history of witches in Salem but it was neat to see the progression of what it is to be a witch. My kids, ages 7 & 9 at the time, were enthralled and loved learning about the history behind the famous events in our history.

Check out some pics from our adventure!

There are bunch of shops around the main downtown area which are mostly if not all related to witches. A lot of which tried to relate to Harry Potter which I didn’t like too much but these are times I guess. We checked out a wand shop of course, Wynott’s Wands, and the kids each bought a wand. These are NOT Harry Potter wands, they are custom made and the woman there was very informative and told us the meaning behind each wand. There was a Potter theme but the wands were not made like those in the movie. We love them.

One thing we try to do when we travel is visit National Parks and there happens to be one in Salem! The Salem Maritime National Historic Site. There is a visitor center and gift shop which I love, I just love gift shops though, and of course kids can earn a Junior Ranger badge! You borrow a kit for this one though, like a bag and binder which is neat. It works sort of like a scavenger hunt through Salem and its old historical buildings. We loved it! I would have loved to keep a booklet but they are working to save the planet by not printing as much. I get that…but we like to use them for our homeschool lessons for that day and the kids finish the entire booklet later and do a presentation on it and other parks we visited. This adventure could take a bit of time but doable in a day and you see a lot of cool places and learn a LOT of info!

There is a wax museum, a pirate museum, haunted tours, Hocus Pocus movie related tours and the house from the film, and oh so much to see and do there! Mostly related to witches or the famous witch trials, however there are other things you can see and do there that are not. The House of Seven Gables house is an awesome tour to take! I loved it and I don’t remember the book but now I have to read it again…well it is on my list.

Our tour guide was patient with the kids and their questions and hilarious with his wit and comments. We had a great time and the kids loved learning about the secret door! I can now state that the house does in fact have seven gables and while it wasn’t that important to me it was to my husband…yeah he’s a big nerd hehe.

Check out some pics from our adventure!

You can also check out Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Birthplace house which is part of the Seven Gables tour. That was neat as well but I LOVE old houses. What was more interesting to me was the fact that Hawthorne is a descendant of John Hathorne who happened to be a judge during the Salem Witch Trials. I know! How cool is that! He changed the spelling of his name to distance himself from John and that part of history but he also is thought to have been inspired by events in his family’s history. His themes of guilt, retribution, and atonement along with bits  the supernatural and witchcraft thrown in were taken from his great-great-grandfather, John Hathorne.

I’m a huge history nerd so this information was amazing to learn! I kind of wish I had someone from my ancestry in the Salem Witch Trials and of course due to the nature of everything am kind of grateful I didn’t…I’d be tried as a witch for sure if I lived back then…

SO when adventuring in Salem, learn about the Witch Trials, visit some cool shops, support National Parks and as always have an amazing adventure!

Check out some pics from our adventure!

“May your adventures bring you closer together, even as they take you far away from home.”
~ Trenton Lee Stewart

Author: sandyz